Yeah, the saying, “your favorite skater’s favorite skater” has become pretty cliché, but there’s still no one better than Gino to which the phrase most applies. Every taste of skating he gives us only keeps us salivating for more. So, will he ever put out another video part? And what’s up with his shop in Long Island? Well, here are the answers.
Looking back on the past twelve months, what have been the highlights for you?
2009 was pretty much me just my getting my life back in order. I was in some legal trouble at the end of 2007, so I had to go away for a while. I returned home at the end of 2008 and had to start from scratch. I had to find a new place to live, and my business partner opened up POETS while I was gone, so when I returned, I jumped right into being a store owner. It was a bit foreign, even though I had a shop for a second in 2003. I hadn’t skated in a long time, so I gradually got on the board whenever possible, and that was a bit tough too. POETS had its one-year anniversary on August 25, and I made it out West a few times to catch up with everyone at Chocolate and all my close friends out there. I did some skating and just tried to get in the mix again. Now I’m pretty much trying to balance owning a store and skateboarding, and so far so good.
How did getting on Mighty Healthy come together?
Mighty Healthy came about through my old friends Ray and Dennis. I’ve known them forever, and I guess when Ray saw that I was amped to skate and I was willing to put myself out there, he figured, “Why not team up?” Mighty was going to hit the skate world and I’m getting back in, it so let’s do it together.
What about Nike? Is there anything in the works?
Nike has been great to me and they have stuck by my side through my down times. As of now, me and my friend and business partner Matt Bell finished up a shoe for POETS, which should drop in Fall 2010. Also, I’m working out a contract for the next year or so. My main goal is to keep it realistic as far as what I can produce.
Take us through an average day in your life? How has your day-to-day changed from years past?
My day-to-day goes like this: I’m up at six every morning, naturally. I hit the track around the block and run three or four miles, breakfast, news, stare at the telly for a while, get on the computer and do the usual—check mail, the business account, bills, jot down what needs to be done for the day ‘cause I’ll forget real quick. Around ten or eleven I’ll head to the shop, open up, et cetera. It’s winter and there’s snow on the ground, so there’s not much skating going on. Some of the fellas from Long Island will hit some indoor parks now and again, so I try to get out with them whenever possible. Still it’s not enough. There’s nothing worse than wanting to skate but you can’t. I close up shop at eight, head home ‘cause I got a nine o’clock curfew due to parole, and that’s pretty much it. I grab some dinner, check the boob tube, and fall out by midnight. The day-to-day has changed dramatically—it’s a lot more boring and groundhogish, but at the same time that’s how I like it.
Gino in The Chocolate Tour ['99].
Have you been filming at all for the Chocolate video? Will you have any footage in the video? A full part?
I’m not going to say I’ve been fully committed to filming for this Chocolate vid because let’s face it, it’s been tough just being on my board consistently enough to feel confident enough to film. My main concern right now is getting through this winter, getting on the board as much as possible, take a few trips to Cali, and hopefully by May 2010 I’ll be off parole and I can make a better effort to coming through for this vid. As of now, I have a few clips, and of course I want to come through with a lot more for my team and myself. The desire is definitely there.
What’s the hardest thing about running a skate shop?
The hardest thing for me is the constant socializing. Some days I’m just not in the mood, but you gotta be down to show love to everyone who walks through the door.
What’s the best thing?
It’s been cool seeing people come through from all over, like other states, Europe, and a lot of friends from the past I haven’t seen in years.
Do you think you’ll ever move back out to California? Why or why not?
I can’t see myself moving back to Cali. It’s just not ever a thought that crosses my mind. I like living on the east coast and I like the occasional trips out West. It isn’t that deep, I just feel at home here.
Gino in Trilogy ['96].
You’ve been on countless skaters’ favorites lists. Who are some of your favorite?
Skaters of all time:
Natas [Kaupas], [Matt] Hensley, Mike V, and each and every person who rides or has ridden for Girl and Chocolate.
Styles of all time:
Of course J Lee [Jason Lee], [Matt] Hensley, and each and every person who rides or has ridden for Girl and Chocolate. [Jason] Dill, Huf, [Ronnie] Bertino, ‘Reem [Kareem Campbell], [Tom] Penny, D Way. Those come to mind first.
Video parts of all time:
Wow, let me think. Natas in Streets On Fire, Hensley in Hocus Pocus, Vallely in Rubbish Heap, Dune [Chris Pastras] in Two World Industries Men, Gonz, J Lee, Rudy [Johnson], and Guy [Mariano] in Video Days; Tim [Gavin] and Henry [Sanchez] in Pack Of Lies; Chico [Brenes], Shiloh [Greathouse], [Song] and ‘Reem in Love Child and New World Order; [Sean] Sheffey in A Soldiers Story; Rick [Howard], [Mike] Carroll, Sheffey, [Pat] Duffy, and D Way in Questionable; Keenan [Milton] and Guy in Mouse; D Way and J Wray in Revolution; [Andrew] Reynolds and [Jim Greco] Grecs in 2G; BA in Yeah Right!; Guy, Marc [Johnson], [Mike] Mo, Carroll, JB [Gillet], Jesus [Fernandez], and [Lucas] Puig in Fully Flared; and Rune [Glifberg], [Geoff] Rowely and Bob [Burnquist] in Extremely Sorry. How’s that for a breakdown?
Keenan and Gino in Mouse ['96].
Inspirations—inside and outside of skateboarding:
My dog Gus R.I.P.; my mother, father, and sister; Guy’s comeback; Mike Bossy’s 50 in 50; Marc J’s consistent innovation and dedication; all my good friends working hard doing their thing; Joe Pesci laying in the weeds over in Secaucus, restin’.
Like anybody, you’ve had your highs and you’ve had your lows, and have spent time on and off the board. But skateboarding is something that always calls us back no matter what cards life deals us. What about skateboarding can’t we get enough of? Why do we keep coming back for more?
The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.